Document Detail

Behavioural and heart rate responses to velvet antler removal in red deer.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16031658     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Heart rate and behaviour during and following velvet antler removal were monitored in yearling red deer stags to determine the extent to which this procedure was perceived by the deer to be aversive. Nine stags normally kept at pasture were habituated over 5 weeks to the following daily handling procedure. Each deer was fitted with a harness containing a heart rate monitor. It was then allowed to run through a fixed course in a deer yard, restrained for 40 s in a mechanical deer crush, and then confined for 3.5 h with the remainder of the group of stags in an indoor pen containing food and water. In Week 6, the deer were subjected to either restraint for 6 minutes (the control treatment) or removal of one velvet antler under local anaesthesia. Each velvet antler was removed on separate occasions, either on Days 1 and 2 (five deer) or Days 3 and 4 (four deer). The control treatment was applied to all deer when velvet antler was not being removed, and on Day 5. Heart rate and behaviour (time taken to enter the treatment area, and number of struggles made during restraint) were measured before and during treatment, and post-treatment activities were recorded at 0, 1 and 3 h (indoors), and at 6 and 9 h (at pasture). Heart rate was higher during the second velvet antler removal treatment than during the first, but lower during the second control treatment than the first (P<0.05). During velvet antler removal, stags struggled more, and after the treatment flicked their ears, shook their heads, and groomed themselves more than control stags (P<0.05). Stags whose velvet antler had been removed spent less time eating than control stags, and spent progressively more time sitting during the 3.5 h of confinement (P<0.05). However, during the paddock observation at 9 h post-treatment, stags which had had their velvet antler removed grazed more than control stags (P<0.05). The increase in heart rate over the two velvet antler removal treatments and the greater amount of struggling during velvet antler removal indicated that it was more aversive than the control treatment. Post-treatment differences in behaviour may have been due to pain following velvet antler removal.
J C Pollard; R P Littlejohn; P Johnstone; F J Laas; I D Corson; J M Suttie
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  New Zealand veterinary journal     Volume:  40     ISSN:  0048-0169     ISO Abbreviation:  N Z Vet J     Publication Date:  1992 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-07-20     Completed Date:  2005-09-29     Revised Date:  2009-11-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0021406     Medline TA:  N Z Vet J     Country:  New Zealand    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  56-61     Citation Subset:  -    
MAF Technology, Invermay Agricultural Centre, Private Bag, Mosgiel, New Zealand.
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